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Grit Won't Fit in Squares

It is not well.

Yet, in Him, it is.

Sitting on the sidelines catching up with my oldest friend as our babies, spanning from toddlers to teens, splashed and played together in the pool this evening was just what I needed. As the sun started to set, it seemed to hit us each at the same time that we had failed to take any pictures to mark the occasion yet again. Hours later, after everyone was showered and tucked in their beds, I peeked at those sweet little sun-kissed faces in the squares on my phone, smiling and enjoying each other. They were too cute to keep to myself, so I shared them without a second thought.

That's what we do: experience joy and pass it along. It's a beautiful thing.

It's a beautiful thing right up until it becomes an obligation.

It's a beautiful thing right up until someone thinks squares tell full stories.

Some moments, like the innocent one by the pool this evening, truly are sweet and merit documenting for posterity and the sharing of joy. So many moments are just like that. I would like to believe those moments have been the inspiration behind this social media fairytale world we have created. We live for those times. We want more of those moments. We dream of being defined by those joy-filled pauses in life and fear being judged by the ones that stand in stark contrast to them. Valleys are so deep and so dark. We long to live on the mountains, but as a wise elderly lady shared at an event I once attended, "We can't stay on the mountain because nothing grows tall on the mountain."

Growing hurts.

Hurt is hard to look at.

Pain is not like joy. We experience it and immediately try our very best to hide it, to wrap ourselves around it, and keep anyone from knowing it has come at all. Whereas we cannot contain our joy, we will do anything we can to contain pain. We long to protect those we love from what has hurt us. Rather than realizing wounds require attention, painstaking precision, and care to heal, we hurry to hide them... and then wonder why we are still wounded years later.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground."
Psalm 147:3-6

Did you catch that? His understanding is beyond measure. Our Great God's understanding is beyond measure. When we cannot begin to understand why pain has come like it has, He alone understands. And He has not come to tell us to buck up and pretend it's okay. He has not come to remind us of the law we live under and tell us all the ways we are falling short if we do not find a way to deal. He has come to heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds. He has come to settle the score. He alone can cast the wicked to the ground. He vows to lift up the humble.

I'll never forget being a little girl injured from an ATV accident with bandages on my neck. Too wounded for school and unable to sit up unassisted without excruciating pain, I watched the Young & the Restless on that console television and stared at people's necks! I marveled at the ease with which they could turn them, wondered if mine would ever be completely healed, and grew more bitter about my present condition with every moment that passed. If I'm being honest, not a whole lot has changed. My neck is fine, but I still seek what I am longing for and I almost always find it. We all do. When we are longing to be whole, all we can see is everyone else's wholeness. When we long to know joy, everyone else seems to be grinning. Fill in the blank - whatever we desire, someone else has. And some people just flat seem to have it all. 

The stories behind the sun-kissed faces smiling in those squares might tear your heart out if you heard them. 

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven... He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11

Growing hurts, but everything that "grows tall on the mountain" has fought to do so. That kind of grit can't fit in squares. The single mom who keeps on keeping on so that her children might know a better way. The patient who says yes to the next treatment after spending the night over the toilet after the last one. The orphan, once discarded like garbage, rising like a Phoenix and showing the world what she's really made of. The barren woman leading a generation. The wounded man carrying his buddy to safety. The marginalized standing with open arms. Scroll as we might, we may never find those pictures. Fret not, friend, we need only look around.

Not one of us is exempt from suffering. I won't judge you on the chapter I walk in on if you won't judge me on mine. What is whole today may shatter by morning. What is maimed can still be made new. This is but a season; we need not be defined by it. Our Father is still in control. Not only does He understand what is going on here, but from where He is sitting, He can see why. His promises are true and He has promised to make all of this - ALL OF THIS - beautiful in its time. If it's not beautiful, it's not time. And He's put eternity in our hearts. That desire for more, that need to be made whole, that longing for lasting joy: all those longings of every heart, they'll only be satisfied in Him. 

It is not well.

Yet, in Him, it is.

"My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me."
Psalm 63:5-8


  1. Yes! Most of us look like everything is put together on social media, but you’re right, we all do go through mess, and we need it. I’m reading a book about fostering right now that just said the same thing. We need to remember this message!


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